Drama League Artistic Director Roger T. Danforth to Retire

The organization’s longtime artistic director will step down this summer.

NEW YORK CITY: The Drama League has announced the resignation of longtime artistic director Roger T. Danforth, who will be retiring from the role this summer to pursue other artistic opportunities. Danforth will become a member of the Drama League’s national advisory council. A search for his successor is underway.

“In a century of efforts to support the American theatre, no person in the Drama League’s history has had more of an effect on the field than Roger,” said executive director Gabriel Shanks in a statement. “His legacy is felt everywhere—in the hundreds of directors he has mentored to worldwide success, in the shape and vibrancy of the works he has developed and produced, and in the example he has set as an artist and leader. He has been my closest collaborator and confidante, and the space he leaves behind will be enormous. I can’t begin to thank him for everything he’s accomplished.”

Roger T. Danforth. (Photo by Richard Termine)
Roger T. Danforth. (Photo by Richard Termine)

Since Danforth joined the organization in 1995, the Drama League’s budget has tripled and the fellowship programs have grown under his leadership. He helped launch the Drama League’s first international arts exchange program in Bulgaria, and in 2013, he and Shanks initiated the artist residency program to develop new plays and musicals. Since its inception, the program has developed more than 50 projects, which have won 2 OBIE awards and have premiered across the U.S. and in Europe. The Drama League served more than 3,000 artists each year through the initiative. Danforth’s stewardship at the Drama League also included the Open Initiative, an organization-wide effort to promote and ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion for directors throughout the field. In addition to his work at the Drama League, he also served as an associate producer at Manhattan Ensemble Theater and Urban Stages during the same time.

Prior to his work at the Drama League, he served as the director of new play development at Cleveland Play House, where he also served as acting artistic director for the 1994–95 season. He has directed shows at Two River Theater, Capital Repertory Theatre, York Theatre Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and many others. Danforth is the recipient of the 2006 Theatre Museum’s Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts Education.

“It’s been a joy and honor to lead the Drama League’s artistic programming for these past twenty-one years,” Danforth said in a statement. “It has been my pleasure to work with many of the finest theatre artists and companies in this country, and I will always be grateful.”

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